Posts Tagged chicken manure

Saturday

 

Didn’t have much time today to do anything due to the camp I was on with my scout troop – we only really had time to get a cup of coffee on in the morning on my shiny kelly kettle (a must for allotments or perminant base camping! img_0670

 

 

 

 

First potatoes of the season – lovely in our stew

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Tomatoes with pipe water saving feature – just fill the pipe with water and you water the roots without letting the clay soil get to wet or too hard!

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Three sisters bed – planted with corn from realseeds.co.uk, climbing french beans, courgettes, pumpkins, buttercup squash and a mystery squash.  Also there’s a few marigolds there.  Not by design, I just needed somewhere to shove them after my mini green house fell to pieces.

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 A view of one of the sections on our ‘harlow carr 3×3’ immitation beds.  This is planted quite closely with sweetcorn and another variety of climbing beans.  You can also see the corner of our broad bean section, lollo rosa lettuce (I think that’s how you spell it) and brussel sprouts (yuk!)

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The missus to be (we’re getting married in far less than a month) with the chicken manure.  Lovely.  See how much weight she’s lost, very thin! (that should earn me some brownie points!)  You can also see the potato bed and the rhubarb I split this year behind her (near the bamboo poles)

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  First set of strawberries ripening on the plants.  They’re delicious.  So far I’ve had four, Hels has had two.

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  Some of the tomatoes I put in – I dug over a very small section which used to be a compost heap and put plant pots in – much like the pipes with the tomatoes above, the pots help feed the roots with water rather than letting the water run over the surface.  It means watering time is much reduced because I only water specific parts, I water less and the plants roots dig deeper.  Handy for feeding too!

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Building beds…

This weekend we managed to get down the allotment (having been called out on ambulances or it being so wet n’ windy I’d have needed to peg myself down from being washed or blown away…) and got my project underway. Our last experiment was to break down some pallets and build our beds out of pallet wood. It’s a bad idea and I don’t intend to repeat it. The problem is wood is so expensive! Managed to buy some untreated softwood from the local timber yard with a fairly big discount on top (thanks to one of the guys being a local I drink with down the pub – £45 for 8x11ft ). After treating it with some lovely waterbased blue treatment (I can’t afford to leave it to rot in as permiculture probably wants me to…) I banged it in, layered the bottom first with ‘rooster’ (chicken poo) and then with cardboard (leaving a 6″ overlap under the box). One box I covered in a single layer of cardboard, the other a double. I managed to scrounge a ton of rotted manure which I laid and watered liberally. Unfortunately I can’t find any straw at present – I’ll be looking this weekend for a couple of bales!

All good so far – two boxes approx gives me 60ft2 or (5.574m2) and I intend to build another two next weekend if I get the chance. The boxes only took about an hour to collect, paint and nail.

My next job is to plant potatos down the side of the plot that I want to break up the soil. Hopefully they’ll do the job so I don’t have to dig! I’m also going to shore up the sides of my compost heap – there’s a fair bit of topsoil dug by the previous guy that is nice, loose and broken down. I dug some remaining manure into it and will use it in a mini raised bed for herbs and spices.

Pictures to come…

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Allotment in planning

Finally my allotment application came through.  When I spoke to the lady on the phone she wasn’t overly informative and shocked when I asked these things I lovingly refer to as questions.  Apparently she’s confused as to how I’ve found out that she’s the woman who’s roughly in charge of allotments – after all there seems to be absolutely no published information about these allotments including an address or map.  Both of which I shall provide here, so that locals have some idea of how the place is laid out.

The allotment I’ve been provided is 5 poles.  This equates roughly to 20ftx30ft.  It is still intact – that is to say no-one has taken the topsoil off – but unfortunately entirely covered in couch grass.  Yay! = )

For those who do not know the pleasures of couch grass, it is the kind of parasite that digs itself about 8-16 inches into the topsoil and will come back time after time from a single root fragment.  The only way to rid yourself of it is to dig it out and sieve it by hand. I however, am going down the lazy man route of permaculture – namely the no-dig method!

This method employs cardboard as a weed resistant membrane – I shall be first putting down chicken crap as my fertiliser then applying a double thickness of forementioned cardboard – 6″ of horse manure (I shall be using fresh for those who are interested in these things) then a layer of mulch – straw.

I shall water and… leave.  Until I’m ready to plant!  This lazy-man attitude was brought to you by Mr Bill Mollison through the magic of Permaculture.  If it works for couch grass it’ll damn well nearly work on everything.

For those of you who get worried by these things, yes, it will raise the soil line by 12″ (or more) but that’s ok because I have a bad back and prefer to have the ground a foot closer to me.  It also means this’ll work pretty much anywhere – including concrete, though you may want to include a few shovelfuls of natural earth and a few worms to get the composting going on the lower levels!

Once composted the horse and chicken poo will provide a rich source of nitrogen for my crops, though root veggies will be difficult to grow in the first year.  The straw stops the rain from directly impacting the ground and the natural worm aeriators will keep it nice and unpacked.  So when I pull on my potatos, they’ll just pop out of the ground!  No digging required!

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